Colors of Paradise – ZANSKAR
We, the people residing in cities whenever get a chance to go in the lap of nature, feel as we are in heaven. Far away from this deafening noise, pollution, buildings, number of vehicles. Everyone just running , running and running, total - maddening chaos.
I got a chance to live few days in the heaven and peace, this one was my most adventurous trip, and also this was the first time I came to know the value and importance of sleep, food, need for rest, which we sacrificed first to enjoy the magnificence and serenity of mother nature and then to run back to the chaos where we belong from, Delhi. Here we got a chance to see the life of people living in that beauty and felt how simply they lead that difficult life amidst the dangers and lack of most of the basic necessities which we don’t value just because we have got them and still feel unsatisfied and unhappy most of the time. But there I felt at peace with myself, calm and relaxed, why, I don’t know. May be it was the magic of that place: the fresh air I breathed, colours and landscapes that I saw and the silence which whispered verses in my ears to soothe my mind and soul. First time I saw the amazing contrast of yellow, green and orange grass, colorful mountains, colorful shrubs, and more.
Special thanks for RKBharat for his non-stop continuous driving and make this trip and big thanks also for Vinod to show us the way & other technical & jugadu support.
Place of Visit/Destination : Rangdum & Padam Village in Zanskar, Apprx 1500 km from Delhi and it takes around 3-4 non-stop drive from Delhi. Zanskar is a subdistrict of the Kargil district, which lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative centre is Padum. Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh.
Date of Journey : 11th September to 20th September, 2011 (10 Days).
Mode : Maruti SX-4 (RKBharat’s).
Team Member : Three, Myself ( Rajivphoto or Rajiv Solanki), Vinod Solanki and RKBharat ( Rajiv Kumar Bharat).
Route Taken : Delhi > Ambala> Kharar-Bannour> Khurali> Ballachor> Hoshiurpur> Dasuva> Pathankot> Jammu> Udhampur> Srinagar> Sonmarg> Drass> Kargil> Sanku> Panikher> Pratichik> Rangdum> Padam.
Day 1 : 11th September.
Non stop drive from Gurgaon/New Delhi to Kud, starting 4:30am and reached Kud around 5:00 Pm, no major photography this day.
Night Stay : Kud, JKTDC .
Day 2 : 12th September.
Started around 7:00 am from kud. had Rajma chawal at Banihal, crossed jawahar tunnel around 9:00, reached Srinagar/dal lake at 1:00 PM. had super lunch of pudnia chicken, Goshtab and Rista at shameena, Crossed sonmarg around 3:00 Pm. Zozila was bone dry and dusty. We were stuck at pass due to truck slipping at some of the turns, reached Drass around 8:00 Pm and checked in at JKTDC.
Night Stay : Drass, JKTDC .
Day 3 : 13th September.
Started around 7:00 am from drass, reached kargil around 9:00 am, roads were good compared to previous year, last year whole stretch from sonmarg to kargil was one big mess. this was the day from where we decided to stop every next turn, not keeping any destination, and stop around 5:00 pm at any nearest place. so that we get some peace time for sunset we picked up petrol in tank and jerry cans from kargil. also picked up notebooks, pens, pencils, colors for school children at rangdum.
Here and there is no road for next 230km, I mean absolutely NO ROAD, 230 km of sharp stones infested kutcha road. max speed was 25km/hr and average was 10km/hr , but we were not complaining, with the heavenly views around, our average speed should have been the same even with well tarred road.
We ended our day at Panikhar, checked in at jktdc tourist banglow around 4:30 pm, dumped the stuff at room, ordered for dinner (you need to do that well in advance in this place) and drove to a near by river for some evening shots.
Night Stay : Panikhar, JKTDC .
Day 4 : 14th September.
Started around 8:00 Am, roads from here towards Rangdum got really really bad. specially the stretch between parkachik to Rangdum was big huge stones, but we had photo stops at every corners. Reached Rangdum at 02:00 pm. The view just before the rangdum is really HEAVEN and love those waterscapes.
Night Stay : Rangdum, JKTDC .
Day 5 : 15th September.
Woke up early in the morning to take the morning shot while shivering in cold in previous night, Found some local guys from Uttar Pradesh working there since last 2-3 year in some electricity project, They arranged room in padam for us. We never forget hospitality provide by them. We started around 10:00 am from Rangdum. Way to padam is out of world. Reached padam in dark around 7: pm. Padum has almost all the facility, good hotels, good food and some better shops. BUT no petrol pump. In fact there is no petrol pump after kargil. so either carry petrol from kargil on jerry can or buy some unreliable petrol/deisel from padum.
Night Stay : Padam, Guest House.
Day 6 : 16th September.
We visit Shila village and Stongde gonpa, and then drive to some nearby places. Views were getting better and better with every Km we move. drive to Shila village was very very scary We saw the real life there. Then we went to Stongde Monastery and again ascent to gonpa, around 2 km was hell scary and very steep. but you get a clear and wide view of valley from the top.
Night Stay : Padam, Guest House.
Day 7 : 17th September.
We covered zangla gonpa and Karsha gonpa these days, around 50 km of drive in total and some super fantastic views.
Night Stay : Padam, Guest House.
Day 8 : 18th September.
And its time to back, the real hectic journey was started. Started pretty early at around 3:30 am as we had to reach kargil same day and RK said that he’ll not stop the car for photography which was very painful for me but there was no way. Drive was painfully slow but patience was the only key on those roads. We had our breakfast at Rangdum, again home cooked paranthas by our new friends. Reached kargil around 8:30 Pm and stayed at NHPC station with our doctor friend who got booked a VIP lodge for us.
Night Stay : Kargil, NHPC Guest House.
Day 9 : 19th September.
At night we take sleep for 3-4 hours only and once again started pretty early at around 3:30 am to avoid the army convoy that starts from Drass at around 6:00. We reached Zozila pass non stop, but whole pass was in great mess due to heavy snow fall happened two days back. it was all slush though we managed with few hiccups. Reached 12:00 pm at lakhanpur border.
Night Stay : NO,,,, Just driving.
Day 10 : 20th September.
Started around 02:00 am from lakhanpur border, effect of tiredness was raising so stop the car on highway for take rest and than again stop the car near Mukheria due to feeling of heavy sleepy at 05:00 am. Started around 7:00 am for non-stop drive to Delhi and reached Delhi at 03:00 pm.
Some of the more incidents we like to share with you.
As we saw many LA,….& Pass in Hill areas But we feel....
1. KAMBAL LA, when we were shivering In rangdum in – degree temperature.
2. KHANA LA - in kargil, as we driving 03:30 am to 09:00 pm without proper food.
3. SUSTI-LA - on the returning tiredness journey.
4. FATI LA - when car gives red indicator and tyre moving on mud at Zozila Pass.
5. PHONE LA - after kargil there is no phone facilities upto rangdum ( thanks for rangdum Gonpa for satellite phone) .
On the returned journey I felt driving non-stop is not good, as generally we go to out for relax we should not be in hurry, now I realize on returning journey we drive in sleepy and heavy tiredness and it might be big risk. Hope we’ll not repeat in future.
Here is some photos, believe me this place is more beautiful than photos, no camera can capture beauty of Zhanskar’s.
Behind the Scene
Thanks Vinod for clicks
tO bE cONT...